ISLAMABAD: The forensic expert who had concluded that the Calibri font could not have been used in a “fabricated” trust deed by Maryam Nawaz as it was not commercially available before January 31, 2007, admitted before an accountability court that the font existed since April 2005 in the beta version of Windows Vista.
The witness during the hearing also admitted that he was answering the defence counsel’s questions by looking at notes he had prepared, shared and discussed with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s officials present in London.
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In the almost seven-hour long proceedings of NAB’s supplementary reference pertaining to Avenfield Apartments against Sharif family, the forensic expert Robert W Radley admitted that he was taking help from the notes he had prepared for the statement and cross questioning.
In his statement, Radley said he along with another witness, Akhtar Raja of the Quist Solicitors, met the NAB’s Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, director investigation and another official in a meeting wherein they discussed and distributed the notes for the statement.
Defence counsel Khawaja Haris enquired Radley if he was answering the questions about Calibri font by looking at the notes. The witness said “yes”, adding that the notes were prepared for cross examination and the participants of the meeting had discussed about it for over two hours yesterday.
Muzaffar, who was sitting with the witness at the Pakistani High Commission in London as an observer, raised objection over the purpose of meeting saying he was present as an observer in compliance of an order of the Islamabad High Court and it should not be seen otherwise.
“Yesterday’s meeting must have also been convened in compliance of court’s order,” Haris quipped as the audience burst into laughter. Radley, however, said that it is routine matter in the United Kingdom to consult from notes.
Subsequently, Haris said that the defence team should be handed over a copy of the notes so that cross examination could be concluded on February 23. Apparently, Haris pointed out the notes when he observed that the witness was giving anticipatory answers to all his questions, and adding explanations to almost every question posed to him.
Earlier, Radley said that it was correct that tens of thousands of persons were “testing” the beta version since 2005 while replacing the word “using” as advanced by Haris. Radlay said the beta version was distributed to high-level IT experts, software engineers and manufacturers, adding the testers were helping Microsoft about security features, interface and compatibility.
Radley admitted that Window Vista’s beta version was available since April 2005, subsequent versions were released in October and November that year and the Calibri font was packaged with it. He said that the testers’ focus was on other things than the Calibri font.
During the hearing, Radley said that he got a call from Raja on June 29, 2017 about his “engagement” in the matter and scanned documents were sent to him on June 30, 2017. On July 5, 2017, he said, second set of documents were sent to him.
The expert also admitted that he did not read contents of the documents (trust deed) as he had no concern with it and it was the job of the solicitor. He said he did not ask for original documents as his job was to only examine the documents provided to him.
At one point, Radley said that no schedule was attached with the documents he examined but later, when Haris asked him to check headline of a certain page, he admitted that schedule was written on it.
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If schedule is attached with the documents, Haris said then your earlier statement that there was no schedule attached with the documents is incorrect. “Yes. If this is the schedule then it was incorrect,” Radley said.
The expert also admitted that his job was not to fix responsibility but just to state the facts pertaining to the documents presented before him. He said that he couldn’t determine the age and time of the holes and staples on the documents and they could have been one-day old or prepared six months ago.
The court would resume hearing on February 23 (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2018.